Well, that pretty much settles it.
My fellow Americans, I have heard and understood the loud and unequivocal message you sent with this year's election:
Liberty is for losers.
True, we have not been a free people in some time. It's been a long and bumpy road to serfdom — 100 years to be precise, starting in 1913, when government gathered for itself the power to levy a tax on income in direct opposition with the taxation power as the Founders envisioned it.
The Founders, after all, understood a thing to two about the dangers of taxation, how necessary expenditures for the public good can all-too-easily become inevitable and bottomless troughs engorging an ever-expanding and ever-ravenous bureaucracy.
Which is exactly what has happened. Every year the state has grown larger and more powerful, exercising greater control over every aspect of our lives. By the 1940s, the government had grown so enamored of its new powers it decided it could tell a farmer whether and how much wheat he could grow on his own property (Wickard v. Filburn). Earlier it had even begun handing out mandatory identification numbers to every citizen, the better to track our whereabouts and livelihoods.
Social Security really was the turning point, in retrospect. It is the Social Security apparatuses, after all, which will enable the IRS to enforce the latest and greatest crime against liberty, Obamacare. Soon, thousands of bureaucrats will fan out across the land to enforce the edicts of the state health-care regime. Franklin Roosevelt made it easy for Barack Obama — they already know where you live and how much you make. Soon they will know whether you have the right health insurance, and thanks to the Income Tax Amendment to the Constitution ratified 100 years ago, they have the ability to punish you by taking your money before you even see it should your health insurance fall short of mandated coverage and cost.
But there's the rub, isn't it? The 16th Amendment that put us on the road to unfreedom was not a top-down imposition — the people ratified it as prescribed in the Constitution. The states willingly adopted the chains that bind us all to the federal leviathan. And now the people have ratified Obamacare by rewarding its author with a second term — and it wasn't even close.
In short, there is no longer the need or desire for pretense. Americans are not free, and they no longer have the desire — nor, perhaps, the capacity — to be free. To that end, I suggest we dispense with the now unnecessary trappings of democracy — a Senate, really? — And simply install a dictator with total control over our lives.
I am the man for the job.
My platform is simplicity itself: I will confiscate the wealth in this nation, dole out a meager sum to each citizen, and use the rest to build up my security apparatus, reward my allies and enrich myself. You will have enough to live on — just. But is that not a small price to pay to banish the dread fear of uncertainty from your lives? And in fact, let's face it — you have already made this bargain with a vast, faceless bureaucracy. The new bargain will be no different in kind, just more open and infinitely more honest.
In truth, it's what you have said you want, over and over again: to be relieved of the horrible burden of freedom. And it's no wonder — liberty is hard. So many choices to make, so many responsibilities to accept. Let me take it all away. Let us collapse together into this embrace of unfreedom.
True, it is a stifling embrace. You can't move, you can barely breathe. But at least you don't have to think. Let's just get this over with, shall we? Matt Patterson for Dictator, 2013.
Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Matt Patterson, a Rockville resident, is a journalist and author. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.